On Saturday I realized I hadn’t listened to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first big Broadway hit In the Heights in quite a while. I don’t know exactly why, but In the Heights really is a summer-listen to me and although temperatures dropped over the last couple of days (don’t even get me started on how cold I was when I rode my bike home at 3:30 in the morning on Sunday) I decided it’s that time of the year already.
There’s a lot of fabulous songs in that show, that make me cry on a regular basis, but one of my all-time favourites definitely is the Act I finale “Blackout”. And I really have nothing else to say about that.
Just listen and feel a little bit summery already!
I mentioned reading a quite special book the last week – a book basically explaining diffrent concepts of womanhood and femininity on Broadway over the last six decades. Anyway this is called Music Monday and not Book Monday – so while reading this book I was inspired to dig back into my iTunes library to return to a very loved recording from only a couple of years ago.
I’m talking about In the Heights, winner of multiple Tony Awards in 2008, which is mentioned in the third to last chapter of “Changed for Good. A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical” with a number of other musicals focussing on women of color – reading about it I remembered how much I used to love the very narrative score.
My all time favourite song is ‘Breathe’ (and always was), the first solo of the (female) protagonist Nina. I’ve spent afternoons listening to various versions of it and crying my eyes out on them (one of them being a very mature and distinct performance by then 13-year-old Mallory Bechtel last year) – however when I thought about featuring it here I found a very moving version of it by the original (Broadway) Nina, Mandy Gonzales, sung at a five year reunion concert in 2013.
In addition to the song being Nina’s ‘I want’-number, it opens out up a lot of Nina’s character to the audiences, it’s very emotional and it presents the kind of community the characters and then we as audiences are in right now (or, better: putting even more color into the picture of community drawn in the opening).
What are you listening to today?
I’d love to hear!